Harvesting Swiss Chard

When harvesting Swiss chard remove the outer leaves and leave the smaller inner leaves intact for future growth. Swiss chard is a biennial which means it goes to seed after two years. Take good care of your crop and you can experience a very lengthy and productive growing season.

LA County Master Gardener Training Program 2011

Common Ground Garden Program
University of California Cooperative Extension Los Angeles

MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER TRAINING PROGRAM

13 Saturdays, March 5 – May 28, 2011, 9am-4pm

January 10: Last Day to Get Onto Elist to Receive Application Link
January 15: Last Day to Submit Completed Online Application

WHO CAN APPLY
Any resident of Los Angeles County with an email address and computer access.  Most communication will be by email and websites.

Anyone who wants to help teach low-income and limited-resource people how to grow more nutritious vegetables and fruits.

We especially invite residents of inner-city neighborhoods and bilingual gardeners.

HOW TO APPLY

You must be on either or both of our resource elists –
1) Community Gardening and Food Security, 2) School Gardening.

If you’re not on either elist, email Yvonne Savio, ydsavio@ucdavis.edu by January 10, 2011 and indicate which elist you want to be on (you can be on both).

If you’re already on either or both elists, email ydsavio@ucdavis.edu by January 10, 2011 to receive the online application link.

Complete and submit the online application by January 15, 2011. No application will be considered before January 16, 2011.


WHAT WE’LL DO

Accept 50 applicants.

Main criteria for acceptance: 1) prior community service, 2) passion for helping low-income gardeners, 3) experience giving presentations, 4) working with people of diverse backgrounds, and 5) initiative in starting and carrying through projects.

On February 1, 2011, we will email you whether or not you have been accepted into the program. Don’t contact us earlier.

If you have been accepted, we will email you a Live Scan form and list of Live Scan locations in L.A. County for required fingerprinting and criminal background check by the U.S. Department of Justice. This must be done for us specifically, only at these locations, regardless if you’ve done it for another agency.  Note differences in prices, hours, and whether an appointment is required.

If you have been accepted, we will email you instructions on joining our MGs-only Yahoogroup.  You can use either your existing email address or your new Yahoo email address to receive all of our MG emails and materials.

On February 16, 2011, we will post onto the MG-only Yahoogroup your first assignments due on March 5, the first day of class.

Teach you how to garden successfully. Topics and garden activities will cover basic plant science, propagation, fertilization, irrigation, soil, compost, vegetable and herb and fruit gardening, flowering plants and trees, Integrated Pest Management (diseases, weeds, insects, small animals), tools, how to start community and school gardens, and outreach techniques.

Provide you with Volunteer and Continuing Education opportunities all over Los Angeles County.

WHAT YOU’LL DO IF ACCEPTED INTO THE MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER TRAINING PROGRAM

By February 15, 2011, mail the Live Scan form completed by the Live Scan operator to: Valerie Borel, U.C. Cooperative Extension, 4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90022.

By February 15, 2011, pay course fee online with credit card, or mail check for $200 made payable to “UC REGENTS” to: Valerie Borel at above address.  Low-income residents pay only what they can afford—see application for details.

By February 15, 2011, join our MGs-only Yahoogroup and make sure you’re receiving postings.

By March 4, 2011, become familiar with our Common Ground public website and our MGs-only Yahoogroup website.

Attend 13 classes on Saturdays, March 5 through May 28, 2011, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, at our office.  Some meetings will be at other garden sites; we encourage carpooling with classmates. After the first class on March 5, only one class may be missed – and that only with prior notice.

Give gardening workshops at community gardens, school gardens, senior gardens, housing development & other low-income gardens.

Answer gardening questions at gardens and fairs, on the phone at our office, or by email from your computer.

Help with program activities and workshops at the UCCE office in East Los Angeles.

Post all your volunteer and continuing education hours on our online Statewide MG Volunteer Management System (we provide instructions).

Starting in June, attend monthly MG Continuing Education meetings on the second Saturday of every month at different garden locations.

WHAT YOU’LL GET
California Master Gardener Handbook, University of California publication; discounts on other UC publications.

Certificate of Completion of Class Instruction – after completing the 13-week training program and passing the take-home, open-book examination.

Monthly Continuing Education meetings with speakers and activities on in-depth gardening topics.
Frequent emails of Volunteer and Continuing Education opportunities and other program information.

Annual recertification as an active MG after you post online at least 50 Volunteer hours and 15 Continuing Education hours by May 31, 2012.  (Future years’ annual requirements are 25 Volunteer and 15 Continuing Education hours.)

Joy and satisfaction that you’re helping other gardeners grow more nutritious vegetables and fruits, you’re making new friends, and we’re all working together to beautify our neighborhoods and “Green LA”!

For More Information – Email Valerie Borel, vtborel@ucdavis.edu

School Garden Lessons, Activities and Curricula

Jerusalem Artichoke

When I first started working in school gardens my initial focus was on getting kids to eat healthy. To that end I would plant as many varieties as possible knowing that young gardeners love anything they plant and nurture themselves.

As school gardens got more popular however, more and more teachers were asking how to incorporate school gardens into their everyday lesson plans. Learning to eat healthy was just one of many topics that needed to be covered. Peruse the websites below and you will find activities and lesson plans that also relate to art, science, math, and social studies.  Also please note many are broken down by grade.

1) School Garden Lessons from GrannysGarden.org

2) School Garden Curricula Grades K-12 from National Environmental Education Foundation

3) 15 Lessons for 1, 2 and 3 graders (72 page pdf)

4) 15 Lessons for 4 and 5 graders (61 page pdf)

5) Curriculum ideas from California School Garden Network

6) Agriculture in the Classroom – Lesson Plans from USDA

7) School Garden Lesson Plans from Virginia Tech Horticulture Department

8) Nature’s Partner’s – Pollinator, Plants, and You (Comprehensive pollinator curriculum for grades 3-6)

9) School garden activities arranged by season

10) Lesson Plans and Curricula – Garden ABCs

Clearing, Harvesting and Seed-Saving


If you’re lucky enough to have a year round garden like Hamilton High School first week of school you’re still harvesting. The local food bank has been getting donations of tomatoes, squash, eggplant, basil, peppers, and okra.

At West Hollywood Elementary School the garden is not open year-round so during the first week of school students clear all the weeds and expired annuals and save seeds from artichokes (beneath the tuft of hair), cilantro (not shown), fennel and marigolds.

Next week we’ll add amendments, turn the soil and lay out our rows. Stayed tuned.

Ten School Garden Activities for September

Welcome back teachers and students.

September in a school garden is one of our busiest times. We need to get started quickly to insure a harvest before the long winter break.

For those without a school garden the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has written an extensive online manual, Setting up and Running a School Garden.

For those returning to an existing garden there is much to do. Preparing the beds for another season of seed sowing and transplanting is probably the hardest job physically we will have all year. Organizing a garden day with other parents, teachers, students and volunteers is something you may want to consider.

The following ten activities should be done (more or less) in order:

1) Discuss garden rules and tool safety. For those unfamiliar with garden rules these are the basics: a) No running in the garden; b) No walking in the beds; c) No running with tools; d) Do not carry or swing tools on your back; e) Do not bring hands tools over your shoulder; f) Walk with the tool by your side, blade down; g) Return all tools to their proper place immediately after use; h) Do not leave tools in the garden; i) Anyone not following these rules does not get to work in the garden.

2) Search for dried flower heads and seed pods in which to save seed (i.e. sunflowers, marigolds, lettuce, fennel, cilantro, beans, etc).

3) Clear beds of everything other than perennials (i.e. herbs and strawberries).

4) Collect all organic refuse and compost it. For more information on composting see The School Garden Resource page at the California Waste Management Board and the 8-page pdf, Guide to Home Composting from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works.

5) Add amendments (i.e. organic compost, aged manure) to existing soil, mix well and turn soil top to bottom and bottom to top. See video, How to Amend a Raised Bed.

6) Review the pdf, Vegetable Family Chart. At this time of year we will be planting cool-weather crops. There’s actually more to choose from now than there is in the spring.

7) Read seed packets for specific information regarding height and row spacing. (Taller plants go in the rear so as not to cast shadows on smaller plants.) See How to Read a Seed Packet.

8) Plan and design garden space.

9) Lay out rows. (Ideally, rows should be perpendicular to the arc of the sun.)

10) Sow seeds and/or transplant seedlings. Set up irrigation schedule.

How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers

Creating a school garden requires various skills of which gardening is merely one. Authors Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle of the recently published, How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers, understand this well.

These are the ten chapters covering such diverse topics as: design, budgeting, organizing, fundraising and curriculum:

1. Why School Gardens
2. Laying the Groundwork
3. Getting the Most From Your Site
4. Groundbreaking, Budgeting, and Fundraising
5. Developing your School Garden Program
6. A Healthy Outdoor Classroom
7. Tricks of the Trade
8. Planting, Harvesting and Cooking in the Garden
9. Year-Round Garden Lessons and Activities
10. A Decade in a School Garden: Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, San Francisco, CA

Extras include school garden kid-friendly recipes, example of state content standards and a comprehensive resource guide.

Bottom line – How to Grow a School Garden is one of the best how-to books about school gardening ever published. Add it to your summer reading and get growing in the fall.

Click here to purchase your copy today.

NEA’s Green Across America School Garden Funding – 7/30 deadline

Engage and inspire your K-12 students to increase sustainable, earth-friendly behavior in their neighborhoods and communities.

NEA’s Green Across America grants of up to $1,000 are available to help you implement your innovative education program, activity, lesson or event to excite students about going green, caring for the earth and creating a sustainable future.

The Green Across America Program is sponsored by Target, which proudly supports K-12 schools through innovative giving programs.

How to Apply
Click the “Apply Now” link to begin the online application.

The application must be completed in one session. You will not be able to save your responses and return to them later.

If you would like to prepare your application responses before beginning the online application, you can download a Grant Application Worksheet (.doc, 386K). The worksheet contains all the application questions to help you plan and write your responses. Please note: Only online grant applications will be accepted for this program.

All applications must be submitted online by July 30, 2010.
Please see the complete rules for details.